A breakdown of all the union offices up for nomination this weekend.

You — like most other Wobs across the union — are a solid Wob. You pay your dues regularly, you participate in your branch (if you have a branch), you love the broader union and want it to be the best that it can be — One Big Union mighty enough to make the bosses tremble — and, most importantly, you’re willing to commit to the work to make it so. 

“But what can I do?” you think, “Surely I’m not big enough, important enough, or have been in the union long enough to take a role on a national-level committee!”

But you’re wrong. Yes, some national offices do need specialized skills, and some do have time-in-IWW requirements (we’ll describe those below) — but what most require, above all, is someone able to show up consistently, respond to emails regularly, vote on time, attend meetings when they are called, make the committee their prime focus for the upcoming year, and be willing to put the good of their fellow workers and the union before personal needs or ideas.

All North American Regional Administration (that’s us!) officers will need to be in good standing when they accept their nominations at the time of winning the election, and remain in continuous good standing for the duration of their term. Falling into bad standing removes you from a committee, so keep those dues paid! 

If you’re interested in any of the below positions, contact your branch’s convention delegates (or your GEB contact, if you’re at-large) and get them to nominate you! Often delegates have no idea that Fellow Workers are interested in a position, and would love to hear from you.

The Menu:

Offices

These are single-occupancy positions

General Secretary-Treasurer: PAID

Length of term: 1 year

Requirements: Member for 3 years, 18 months continuous good standing, 2 nominations at convention.

Description: The only paid full-time elected position in the IWW, this comes with a salary of 45K and benefits, but many responsibilities. It’s a 9-5, in-office position, so you won’t be able to work from home. The GST is the primary administrator of the union. They handle all General Administration funds, publish the General Organization Bulletin, and have the ability to hire, fire, and oversee General Headquarters staff. This position is one of special trust though, and you’ll need to be careful how you speak: while serving in office, the GST is not to make public statements supporting any political or religious organization in their official capacity as IWW administrator.

Most GSTs move to Chicago, though it’s not strictly necessary; if you’re interested in moving GHQ to where you live, you’ll want to provide a plan for that when you decide to run, and will need to declare that you’re doing so when accepting the nomination. To understand the position better, you can also intern at GHQ for a week or two — just let your GEB contact know you’re interested! If doing the quiet, behind-the-scenes administrative work of our union appeals to you, and you have a good amount of experience with its broader workings, this is probably a good fit.

Press Officer

Length of term: 1 year 

Requirement: 12 months continuous good standing

Description: The Press Officer typically works in coordination with Industrial Worker and the Solidaridad Editor. According to the IWW Constitution, the press officer will “help implement and develop communications strategies to achieve maximum positive press coverage for the union.” The press officer is the main contact point for press inquiries and coordinates communication around the union. The press officer receives a small stipend to cover phone and internet access. Basically, their job is to make the union look good and spread the word of solidarity unionism as far as they can. Have you been a media contact for a campaign? Are you a journalist? Then this position may be right for you.

Solidaridad Editor

Length of term: 1 year

Preferred: Read and write Spanish fluently

Description: The editor is responsible for ensuring that the union’s main Spanish-language publication, Solidaridad, is published and distributed on a regular schedule; maintaining contact with the General Executive Board and the membership; preparing an annual budget and annual reports for the GEB and the General Convention; and producing a publication that meets the needs and reflects the diversity and general policy of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The editor solicits articles, photographs, and other material from IWW members and supporters; selects from the available material; edits articles to meet the stylistic and space needs of the publication; publishes these selections on an internet site of the same name; and assembles a printable publication in an electronic format. Additionally, the editor may produce an “in body” e-newsletter version. This year, Solidaridad has also been published as in insert to Industrial Worker. 

Solidaridad is a wonderful paper, and more important than ever. Come lend a hand!

Central Secretary-Treasurer of the General Defense Committee

Length of term:  1 year

Requirements: IWW member with 24-month continuous good standing, GDC member for 1 year.  (If no one has that, it’s reduced to 1-year membership in the IWW, and 6-month membership in the GDC.)

Description: The GDC-CST is the primary administrator of the GDC. Much like the GST, the GDC-CST administers all of the GDC’s books and records, as well as reporting regularly to the GDC steering committee, the IWW membership via the General Organization Bulletin, the IWW General Executive Board, and the IWW Convention.

This position involves 10 hours of paid work a week, and GDC headquarters usually moves to your location, so you’ll want to be prepared for that and have adequate space. A very rewarding position for long-time GDC/IWW members!

Committees

General Executive Board

Length of term: 1 year

Committee size: 7

Requirements: Member for 18 months, 12 months continuous good standing

Description: This position is the most time-intensive of the committees and entails a lot of work — at a conservative estimate, 5-10 hours a week for a regular board member and 10-20 hours a week for the chair. You will need to check email on a daily basis and are required to vote within a 7-day period. There will be at least one three-hour conference call a month, with mandatory attendance. In addition, GEB members must be in contact with 5-10 branches and 2-4 committees, with regular follow-ups in order to gather information but also addressing any concerns, bringing them before the rest of the board and issuing a monthly report about their status. You will also need to attend two physical meetings a year, both taking two days, and Convention, which takes an additional three days.

The Chair of the GEB, who is elected by the other officers of the GEB, is also responsible for making a monthly report in the GOB, moderating the GEB email list, calling votes, and ensuring other GEB members are performing their tasks. They will also need to take over if the GST is removed or can’t continue in their office.

This is a good position for someone who has an abundance of both free time and familiarity with the inner workings of the union. 

Gender Equity Committee

Length of term: 1 year

Committee Size: 5

Description: The five-member GEC oversees the Sato fund (the fund that assists non-men with traveling to IWW events, especially trainings), advises branches on diversity issues, and assists non-men in filing complaints against members. It also handles all Safer Space complaints within the union that can’t be resolved at the branch level — generally a significant number. Because it handles Sato funds there’s frequent votes, so you should be especially attentive to your emails with this committee.

If you want to make our union more equitable and a safe space for people of all types to participate then this is the committee for you. It’s awesome and important but it’s short members right now: if you’re interested in filling the term as early as September, please email gec@iww.org

Conflict Resolution Committee on Matters of Gender

Committee Size: 5

Preferred: A background and training in some combination of mediation, conflict resolution, gender-based work, harm reduction, or trauma-informed practices.

Description: The CRC is a conflict resolution process, separate from the formal charges process, designed to deal with complaints that allege gendered harassment, violence, discrimination, or other unwelcome actions of a sexual nature, or where sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. is a factor.

Members of the CRC serve two-year terms and make regular reports to membership through the GOB and convention. 

While this committee is not up for election, it is actively seeking new participants. You can volunteer by emailing crc.iww@gmail.com

Junior Wobblies

Length of term: 1 year

Committee size: 5

Description: The JRWU’s role and purpose within the union is to organize annual summer family camps for Junior Wobblies and to promote and elaborate upon a year-round collective set of activities and practices to promote the cultivation, activity, and retention of youth and their parents within the union.

This a great time with youth getting more and more radical every day. Help be a part of it with the Junior Wobs!

Finance Committee

Length of term: 1 year 

Committee size:

Description: The Finance Committee advises the General Executive Board on financial matters; prepares an annual operating budget; advises GHQ on bookkeeping,  accounting procedures, and best practices; and reports to membership at least once per fiscal year. The Manual of Policies and Procedures has a month-by-month guideline for Finance Committee activities, so it’s okay if you’re not familiar with all the legal requirements. If you’ve handled money for your branch, this might be a great position for you!

Audit Committee

Length of term: 1 year

Committee Size: 5

Description: This committee conducts a yearly financial audit of the union’s General Headquarters and General Fund. This is a highly technical committee; it’s a good idea to have some experience with handling at least branch-level audits, as well as some familiarity with delegate reports and branch secretary reports. You’ll need to look at other audit reports, the budget, the LM filings, check bank accounts as well as the physical inventory in the office and the bonding status of officers, and more. For anyone interested in being a GST or serving on the GEB, a term in the audit committee can give an invaluable look into the deeper workings of the union.

Organizing Department Board

Length of term: 2 years 

Committee Size: 7

Requirements: 12 months continuous good standing. Must have organizing experience and submit a statement of experience for publication in the GOB.

Description: The role of the Organizing Department Board is to oversee the operations, finances, and activity of the Organizing Department. This committee is a significant amount of work — most members of the ODB do at least ten hours of work per week. They check-in with campaigns and offer help secure funding and support from the broader union.

Only five candidates are elected to the seven-member board; one candidate comes from the Survey and Research Committee, and the other from the Organizer Training Committee.

If you have a lot of organizing experience in the IWW, want to help campaigns not just get off the ground but flying, and are willing to do a lot of hard work to get us there, consider a term on the ODB!

IWW.org Administrative Committee

Length of term: 2 years

Committee size: 3-5 members

Description: The IAC is responsible for ensuring that the iww.org network is adequately maintained, that all expenses incurred by the network are paid on time, and that all requests for service from the membership are answered as soon as possible.

While the MPP only lists the IAC as the administrators of the union’s website, in recent years the IAC has become much more of a catch-all IT department, so FWs with non-webdev tech skills are still encouraged to run.

Literature Committee

Length of term: 1 year

Committee size: 5

Description: Not to be confused with the Literature Department, the Literature Committee is tasked with developing the union’s literature. That can involve writing, editing, or designing union materials. We have some wonderful writers out there in our union — come bring your skills to the Literature Committee!

International Solidarity Commission

Length of term: 1 year

Committee size: 3

Requirements: 18 months continuous good standing

Description: The ISC coordinates the IWW’s international relations with other unions — including the International Confederation of Labor — maintains an ongoing regular exchange of information and publications, and coordinates international solidarity campaigns. The Commission also issues international solidarity appeals and statements on behalf of the organization. These communications primarily take two forms: written correspondence (mostly by email) and direct person-to-person contact. Due to the nature of the work, candidates are advised to have or obtain a passport.

Bringing word of our union to other unions, learning from them and bringing your knowledge back. A wonderful committee — come join it and keep our international connections strong!

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